Category Archives: Five Stars

Earth 101: Time to Run

Earth 101: Time to Run by Emae Church introduces us to Jayne’s eerie world, where high school girls are disappearing and mysterious boys with unnatural features seemed to be all around. Jayne is the only one who remembers the missing girls, and it’s starting to make her feel like she’s going crazy. One boy in particular forms a powerful bond with her—Aithen is alluring and kind to Jayne when the rest of their school is suspicious of her research into the missing girls. With a strange man named Erek lurking around the girls and mutterings of possible supernatural creatures, all signs point to one dark answer: alien abduction.

The world is in peril, and the characters in Earth 101: Time to Run need to save it. Jayne herself holds the fate of the universe in her hands. Through her compassion for her missing friends and desperation to protect her family, Jayne connects the dots and becomes closer to Aithen as he shares the secrets of his home planet, Korudaz. He moves through time and sees the future where Jayne’s life is in danger. Rather than allow those pieces to fall into place, they decide to rewrite history and save the world.

I loved the pacing of this story. Every moment was a surprising twist, full of exciting action. The characters were nuanced and complex as they navigated the supernatural aspects of the story. I really enjoyed seeing the connections that Jayne made with others as she strives toward protecting the people she loves and saving her friends from being permanently deleted.

While I found the alien world fascinating, I was a little confused by all the terms that we are introduced to. There were many worlds, objects, and people to keep track of at once as the alien universe is first brought into our story. However, by the end of the book these ideas became easier to follow and made the story very intriguing and created an immersive experience. I liked how creative the approach to space was within this book.

Earth 101: Time to Run by Emae Church is a fast-paced, high intensity science fiction story that brings a new approach to stories of alien invasion. With our heroine Jayne and her intense focus, we’re able to travel through time and watch as she encounters daring feats. This is a story full of passion, action, and romance that you won’t want to miss.

Pages: 412 | ISBN: 1916300375

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Eastover Treasures

Eastover Treasures by [Dawn Brotherton]

Eastover Treasures is written by award winning author Dawn Brotherton. The story follows Aury and her fellow quilters, as she tries to solve a series of clues for a treasure hunt that was devised in the 1860s. Eastover Treasures combines a mystery novel with a slight hint of romance, and is an interesting read.

This intriguing cozy mystery novel is set in the same geographical area, over two time periods. Geographically, Eastover Treasures is set on a piece of land and buildings in Florida. The first time period is the 1860’s. The land and buildings make up a large plantation. The time period is stated at the top of the chapter, but this is also supported by rich detail such as clothing descriptions, technology (or lack of) and the dialogue and speech of the characters. Subsequent chapters transition into the past as the characters read diary entries written in the 1860s. The present-day time setting is indicated by the land usage – a motel and discarded house, descriptions of nearby towns and available technology (electricity, internet, speech). The two time periods are linked in numerous ways: quilts found in both the house and quilts the women are making, remnants of buildings that existed in the 1860s and present day relatives of the family that lived on the plantation in the 1860s.

There are many fascinating characters that color this spellbinding story –  both present day characters and characters in the 1860s. Characters in the 1860s include Mary and her children, Frederick, Thomas, Noah, Sarah. The reader gains some insight into Mary’s feelings and motivations through her inner monologue. However, large parts of her life remain a mystery until the end of the novel. All of the children and their actions feature in subsequent diary entries. In the present day, Aury and Scott are the main characters of the novel. Both are well developed an authentic. Aury, an avid quilter, is an accountant by trade, whom has had her interest piqued in the estate by a mysterious treasure hunt she and her friends found reference to in a diary. Scott, owner of the estate develops an interest in both the treasure hunt and Aury herself. As the novel progresses their friendship develops and grows naturally.

Eastover Treasures is an interesting and worthwhile read. The geographical setting is well described and draws the reader into the enthralling story immediately. The characters are authentic, relatable and even heartwarming, and the relationship between Aury and Scott becomes a sub plot within the novel that was engrossing in itself. This is an mesmerizing historical mystery story that was a delight to read.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B094D54C8R

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Discovering Twins: no secret is safe forever

Discovering Twins: no secret is safe forever by [Stella ter Hart]

Discovering Twins by Stella ter Hart is a memoir, a biography and a short fictional stories all-in-one. It blurs the line between memory and imagination, and that’s what sets it apart. It takes us through the life of ter Hart’s family. With more than 20 short stories exploring different characters and their lives, Discovering Twins is a magnificent debut by Stella ter Hart. It talks about the life of a Jewish family under an oppressive regime; it celebrates life and explores motherhood, childhood, and families in fascinating ways.

The book explores various themes and has something to interest everyone. It talks about the small celebrations of life, taking us through incidents like childbirth, the discomforts and joys of pregnancies, a girl becoming a woman and the fear of the unknown that strikes when you menstruate for the first time. It later talks about Stella’s ageing mother, who suffers from mental illness in the later stages of life. It truly represents life and its various color and shades.

Divided into unconnected short stories about several people in no particular order, one would expect the book to be rather chaotic. However, the author surprises us by making the book feel coherent and rather beautifully connected from one story to another. The stories themselves do not follow the standard format of a story with an introduction, climax or ending. Instead, they narrate instances, some monumental, some mundane, but each brilliantly described. It feels like a window into Stella’s family that we peak into from time to time.

The book also gives us rare insight into the Holocaust and its horrors. How sometimes, parents were even forced to choose between their children. It talks about how her mother and their generation were forced to lie because the truth could get them killed. Stella brings out the horrors of war and genocide without letting the story become a book about the Holocaust, but rather how the scars have a ripple effect.

Discovering Twins is a must-read for anyone looking to get an intriguing and insightful look into the life and struggles of Jews during times of war contrasted with the warm, happy, bright life of ter Hart’s family.

Pages: 256 | ASIN: B094F8WYDT

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One Hundred Fart Poems

One Hundred Fart Poems by [RickthePoetWarrior]

One Hundred Fart Poems is an unexpected amusement. Even though Rickthepoetwarrior certainly has more juvenile humor at times, which can be refreshing, this is truly the pinnacle. Simply a book full of fart poems and jokes. Not hidden criticism, no hidden commentary on the hypocrisy of the world of different socioeconomic situations, just breaking wind.

One of my particular favorites is the fart quotes poem which must be experienced in full. I also found the clever plays on words humorous as always such as the use of fArt which implies art can be made of such awkward situations as are described in the book. I also, as a lover of libraries, quite enjoyed the Ripping Out a Page from History poem.

This collection of fart poems is ridiculous but refreshingly so. Readers are sure to be cackling maniacally even while being embarrassed at their own juvenile laughter. But perhaps that is what makes this book so different from Rickthepoetwarrior’s other works is that it is simply pure joy with no hidden message that might remind the reader of what is exasperating about the world. I highly recommend reading this in conjunction with one of his more profound works as a braincleanser.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B08WTH39D8

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The Professional Voiceover Handbook

The Professional Voiceover Handbook (Voiceover training 1) by [Peter Baker]

The Professional Voiceover Handbook by Peter Baker is a professional’s how-to, that for once, fully delivers. Author Peter Baker provides everything you will need to embark on a journey into voiceover as a new career.

There’s no holding back with Baker. He wants you to succeed and to join the ranks alongside him as a professional voiceover artist. That he loves his work and the field itself is incredibly obvious as you read through this book. He provides clear and simple instructions without making it seem as though he’s talking down to a beginner who knows nothing. He doesn’t just mention different types of jobs one can do in voiceover, he actually goes through several in great detail. For example, there’s a respectable chunk of text describing everything you might want to know about how to record audiobooks, even specifically addressing authors who might want to attempt to record their own books themselves. He’s not narrowing down his audience or excluding anyone; he’s written this guide as an open invitation for anyone to try out voiceover, not just those already dabbling in the field. Baker details every last piece of equipment you’ll need, as well as sharing those that he considers the best or most effective. He talks about the pros and cons of getting an exclusive agent versus going it alone as a freelance artist. He also discusses the best software programs to use, even going so far as to outline exactly what settings to use for different types of jobs. And best of all, he shares an extensive list of websites where a beginning (and honestly even a seasoned) voiceover artist can find trustworthy, paying gigs.

There’s so much valuable, practical information in these pages that I almost felt encouraged to pull out my own microphone and try to record a few practice scripts, just to see how I’d do. I love that you can feel the passion this man has for the work. Other books of this nature that I’ve read always seem to hold back just enough to where you might feel inspired to try but still not know exactly what to do. You won’t need a anything else to get started, and it’s not just the act of voiceover that he discusses. Baker even addresses the more business-related side of the work, answering questions you might have about client communications, how to handle payments and invoicing, even at times providing actual templates for emails that you can copy and use to get started right away.

This was a very easy-to-read book, written in a casual, friendly manner, and there’s no difficult technical jargon to slog through–as even the most technical parts he’s written are easily understood. I highly recommend Professional Voiceover Handbook to anyone interested in a career in voiceover or even anyone who’s just looking into it as a possible hobby or side hustle. Baker’s handbook and his invaluable tips and templates will let you hit the ground running.

Pages: 233 | ASIN:  B093QPD7LM

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The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2

The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2 by [Norman Westhoff]

The characters we came to know and love in Stone Fevre are back in The Color of Greed: Erebus Tales, Book 2 by Norman Westhoff! Keltyn SparrowHawk, the beloved geologist, is trying to make a life for herself with the tribe that took her in a year following the traumatic events of book one. And the capitalistic mastermind, Sir Oscar, is back to his cruel doings and planning another mission for the iridium treasure. Keltyn hears of this and does everything she can to stop him. Can she foil Sir Oscar’s plans? Find out in The Color of Greed.

Norman Westhoff has done it again in the second installment of the Erebus Tales! I may even say he has gotten better at his craft since the first book.

First things first, I want to dive into Westhoff’s improved storytelling skills. The first book in the series was so well written, I didn’t think it could get any better. The story flows easily and I was able to easily understand what was happening in this thrilling adventure story, this is important to me as I just finished another book that was very convoluted so I much appreciate the clarity of Westhoff’s writing.

I mentioned in my first review that there was never a dull moment in the book and it was very easy to read despite the drama and complexity of some of the issues. The same remains true for book two. I felt that chronologically, book 2 does a better job at connecting events and scenes together.

Although we explore a lot of the same themes as book 1, book 2 further elaborates on these themes beautifully. The Erebus Tales series can teach anyone who reads it a valuable lesson on modern society.

The Color of Greed is a riveting Western action adventure novel filled with alluring characters, a vivid setting, and a storyline that takes Keltyn on yet another perilous journey. Something about this story reminds me of The Revenant, with stirring characters on a compelling journey. Or even Michael Crichton’s Dragon Teeth with it’s effortless yet enthralling storytelling. Readers who enjoy a wild western style adventure will surely enjoy this novel.

Pages: 301 | ASIN: B093MGMYKL

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Self-Publish & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Writing a Non-Fiction Book that Sells

Self-Publish & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Writing a Non-Fiction Book that Sells by [Julie Broad]

Self-Publish & Succeed provides detailed step by step instructions, along with motivational anecdotes, that will help aspiring nonfiction writers understand everything they need to write and publish a book. I was amazed at how defined all the steps were and how it literally takes you from ideation, to publishing, to promoting and selling. Author Julie Broad has provided authors with an informative authorship guidebook that provides easy to understand advice and actionable information with proven techniques that she has used for her books and other authors at Book Launchers.

Each chapter covers a new topic and each topic is like a brick in the road to self-publishing a nonfiction book, from start to finish. With an easy and conversational tone readers are provided with plenty of anecdotes from the authors life and experiences that help set the right expectations and puts readers in the right frame of mind to absorb the information that is about to come. What I liked about this book the most was that it provided detailed instructions on how to specifically put into action the advice provided in the book. This is a nonfiction book about writing a nonfiction book. I say this because, along with all the tips in the book, you get to see the lessons put into action within this book. From the hook, to chapter titles, and down to starting a chapter by grabbing the reader’s attention. All of this helps to understand the points being made and provides great examples of how to execute it. This is like having a full publishing seminar all in one book. Where the information is too dense, the author provides links and resources for continued learning outside the book.

The title of chapter one is, “The Life Changing Book”. This is can be a life changing book for any aspiring nonfiction author that is struggling to get started, has no idea where to even begin, or anyone that has the desire but needs a roadmap. Self-Publish & Succeed delivers specific guidance and encouragement all in a friendly tone and easy to follow process.

Pages: 239 | ASIN: B08R16WBPT

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U.S. ‘A’ Today ‘b’ Tomorrow

U.S. 'A' Today 'b' Tomorrow by [RickthePoetWarrior RickthePoetWarrior]

U.S. ‘A’ Today ‘b’ Tomorrow is an in-depth discussion of United States society during the era of Trump and his administration. The poem anthology covers topics ranging from the US elections to foreign policy to racism to class to gun violence.

As an American reading the work, it was infuriating mostly because being reminded of such events makes the brain hurt, but Rickthepoetwarrior handles the difficult situation with his usually clever, yet puerile humor. While I was extremely frustrated by the topics discussed in the book, I suspect by design, there were many poems that had me guffawing such as “What I Wish for Donald Trump’s Hell”.

Because the book is written by a Canadian author it does offer an international perspective on the events of the past four years which is quite interesting to read. The snappy poems that often include plays on words or interesting charts and diagrams hold the reader’s attention and make for a dynamic and quick read. Readers will be crying from both anger and laughter while reading this anthology, but it is oddly inspiring in a way. It motivates the reader to attempt to improve their world and the world of others. For that, I highly recommend and commend Rickthepoetwarrior.

Pages: 127 | ASIN: B08WYVMSWJ

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